CLEVELAND — Hours after the news that his indefinite suspension was upheld by the National Football League, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has issued a statement on Twitter.
Adding further controversy to the already hot debate about Garrett's actions in the aftermath of last Thursday's Browns-Steelers game, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson reported that Garrett alleged that Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur prior to the fight in which Garrett hit the Steelers quarterback in the head with his own helmet.
The accusation came during Garrett's appeal hearing on Wednesday, which was heard by NFL appeals officer James Thrash.
"I was assured that the hearing was space that afforded the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the incident that led to my suspension," Garrett wrote in his Twitter post. "This was not meant for public dissemination, nor was it a convenient attemtp to justify my actions or restore my image in the eyes of those I disappointed."
According to the Associated Press, Rudolph was scheduled to speak to reporters on Thursday but declined shortly after the ESPN report surfaced. Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Rudolph “vehemently denies” the allegation. Rudolph, who has not yet been disciplined for his role in the fight, spoke about the incident on Wednesday, saying there was “no acceptable excuse” for his behavior while adding he “definitely didn't say anything that escalated” the situation.
The NFL also relased a statement saying it had found no evidence to support Garrett's claim.
"I know what I heard," Garrett continued on Twitter. "Whether my opponent's comment was born out of frustration or ignorance, I cannot say. But his actions do not excuse my lack of restratint in the moment, and I truly regret the impact this has had on the league, the Browns, and our devoted fans."
The brawl between the Browns and Steelers occurred in the closing seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 victory last Thursday night. After tackling Rudolph to the ground following a quick pass to running back Jaylen Samuels, Garrett became entangled with the Pittsburgh quarterback, who proceeded to tug at his helmet.
From there, Garrett proceeded to rip Rudolph’s own helmet off before being separated by Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro. But after Rudolph charged at the former No. 1 pick, Garrett hit him in the head with his own helmet before being tackled to the ground by Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey, who punched and kicked him.
Garrett, Pouncey and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi were each ejected from the game, with Pouncey receiving a 3-game suspension and Ogunjobi receiving a 1-game suspension for shoving Rudolph to the ground. Ogunjobi’s appeal – which was also heard by Thrash – was denied on Wednesday afternoon.
Browns general manager John Dorsey also released a statement, saying the team would continue to stand by Garrett:
"As we’ve consistently stated, our organizational support for Myles will continue. He is a man of high character and unquestionable integrity. He was open and honest with us about the incident from the start. He has taken accountability for his actions on Thursday night and this situation will not define him. As an organization, our focus going forward remains on the task-at-hand, which is preparing for the Miami Dolphins."
Garrett appreciated the support of his general manager in a tweet posted late Thursday evening:
WATCH: Jim Donovan and Dave "Dino" DeNatale have more on the Garrett suspension aftermath on Thursday's edition of Donovan & Dino: